GRE Verbal : Conjunctions and Text Logic in Three-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The __________ handwriting of the doctor meant that it was nearly impossible for the pharmacist to tell what the doctor had written; __________, she nearly killed someone, and the doctor was ordered to __________ immediately.

Possible Answers:

remonstrate . . . theretofore . . . careen

indelible . . . throughout . . . improve

persistent . . . despite this . . . careen

inscrutable . . . as a result . . . improve

undulating . . . however  . . . improve

Correct answer:

inscrutable . . . as a result . . . improve

Explanation:

Concerning the first blank: The context clues for this word are in the first clause, where the text indicates that the doctor's handwriting was impossible to read. Thus, in context, "inscrutable" (unable to be understood) makes much more sense than "remonstrate" (to protest and complain to someone). 

Concerning the second blank: In this sentence, we have a situation: the doctor's handwriting could not be read. And then, we have a consequence: the pharmacist nearly killed someone, and the doctor was forced to do something. Therefore, "theretofore" (up until that point or beforehand) makes no sense in context, as this is a "cause, effect" sentence, not "effect, cause" sentence. Thus, "as a result" is the correct choice.

Concerning the third blank: As a result of a doctor's bad handwriting, a patient almost died. Thus, you can conclude that the doctor was ordered to not write poorly anymore. Keeping that in mind, you have "careen" (move while swaying in an unstable fashion) and "improve" (get better).  Thus, the doctor was likely ordered to improve, not continue moving uncontrollably (perhaps his hand had originally careened?).

Example Question #2 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Without looking for a final solution, Peter did consider several __________ options, for he knew that with the __________ of time such __________ solutions would help create foundations for long-term goals.

Possible Answers:

intermediary . . . passage . . . temporary

simplistic . . . undertaking . . . benevolent

elementary . . . reflection . . . nugatory

simpler . . . emendation . . . facile

moderate . . . gathering . . . amenable

Correct answer:

intermediary . . . passage . . . temporary

Explanation:

The clues here lead us to see that Peter has in mind several options that are short-term. While these solutions do not provide the final solution to his long-term goals, they do contribute to the accomplishment of such things. From the structure of the sentence, we can see that the first and the third blanks must be filled with words that are relatively similar in meaning. "Intermediary" and "temporary" are not exactly the same, but things that are only "in the middle" (i.e. intermediary) are not generally meant to last for the long-term. The general idea is that as time passes, these temporary solutions can set the stage for greater, more durable things in the future.

Example Question #1 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The __________ oatmeal showed the certain signs of sitting in the heater, for it poured reluctantly from the ladle, falling in thick __________ into the small bowl that would __________ it until it was eaten.

Possible Answers:

inedible . . . blobs . . . enclose

gelatinous . . . puddles . . . encircle

intolerable . . .  nougats . . . retain

viscous . . . globules . . . contain

wilted . . . plaintiffs . . . greet

Correct answer:

viscous . . . globules . . . contain

Explanation:

The closest incorrect answer is "gelatinous . . . puddles . . . encircle"; however, such gelatinous matter would not make "puddles." Clearly, however, the oatmeal is some kind of thick material. This is indicated by the clue latent in the language that states that it fell "reluctantly from the ladle" as well the explicit word "thick" used in the sentence. The word "viscous" describes a thick material that is neither fully solid nor liquid in its general characteristics. The related word "viscosity" represents a measure of such thickness. Such matter certainly would fall into little globules into the bowl.

Example Question #2 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Although Robert did not have __________ beliefs, he would regularly __________ about almost any topic, expressing his passing thoughts with little hesitation, often to the __________ of his reticent, conservative friends.

Possible Answers:

certain . . . publish . . . amazement

intellectual . . . teach . . . amusement

settled . . . opine . . . consternation

dogmatic . . . preach . . . sadness

heralded . . . recollect . . . salutations

Correct answer:

settled . . . opine . . . consternation

Explanation:

The best first clue for this sentence is the clause "expressing his passing thoughts with little hesitation." This means that Robert apparently did talk about his views. To "opine" on something is to express one's opinion on the matter, even if one is not certain of the truth of the matter. (This is the nature of opinion.) It seems that he would express thoughts in just this way. Thus, it seems that he does not have any really "set" beliefs. Hence, "settled" is good—though "certain" and, perhaps, even "dogmatic" both could work if the other words were well-combined with them (though they are not). Since Robert's friends are described as being reticent and conservative, they likely do not express matters of opinion this freely. (Note, this has nothing to do with conservatism in the political sense but instead with the general temperamental outlook of being cautious about new things.) Such people would be disconcerted by his opining, and this would lead to feelings of anxiety or consternation.

Example Question #5 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Most people misuse the word “literally,” often referring to a(n) __________ meaning of the word. For example, when someone states, “It is literally freezing outside,” he or she likely means, “It is __________ than __________ expected.”

Possible Answers:

metaphorical . . . brisker . . . initially

esoteric . . . balmier . . . standardly

denuded . . . warmer . . . formerly

controversial . . . more bitter . . . regularly

forgotten . . . colder . . . sanely

Correct answer:

metaphorical . . . brisker . . . initially

Explanation:

A number of these possible answers do have a correct word (or set of words) for the second blank. This needs to be something like "colder" or "brisker." However, the key blank is the first. It clearly needs to be opposed to the word "literally." The point is that most people use words in ways that are not literal, even when they say they are speaking "literally." A metaphorical use of a word is one that is extended, as when we say that the glass is "sweating" when what is really occurring is condensation. The last blank, likewise, is quite obviously something like "initially" or "originally." 

Example Question #6 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The argument seemed neither cogent nor __________; it was full of __________ as well as __________ that did not logically connect the ideas being expressed with such vigor.

Possible Answers:

understandable . . . errors . . . canards

thorough . . . assumptions . . . foolishness

recollected . . . confusions . . . inaccuracies

earnest . . . miscalculations . . . omissions

sound . . . equivocations . . . inferences

Correct answer:

sound . . . equivocations . . . inferences

Explanation:

The simplest blank among the three to be completed is the final one. The last issue with the argument is that it had something that "did not logically connect the ideas being expressed." In logical reasoning, inference is the procedure of drawing conclusions by means of the successive progress of reasoning. Another kind of error is "equivocating," which happens when you change the meaning of a word in the middle of an argument. For example, this is an equivocation: "All banks [of rivers] are muddy places. I went to the bank [i.e. the bank building] to get money today. Therefore, I went to a muddy place." (Of course, the brackets would not be there if the equivocation were to happen. They are merely there to help you understand.) Finally, a "sound" argument is one that is logically well-founded.

Example Question #7 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Although Patrick could drink a great deal of alcohol without becoming __________, Isaac could barely smell alcohol without becoming tipsy. For this reason, the latter man remained completely __________ most of the time for fear of falling into a drunken __________.

Possible Answers:

inebriated . . . sober . . . stupor

aroused . . . placid . . . fixation

overcome . . . temperate . . . stupidity

queasy . . . benighted . . . vapidity

enraged . . . temperamental . . . state 

Correct answer:

inebriated . . . sober . . . stupor

Explanation:

This sentence initiates a contrast between Patrick and Isaac by using "although." It seems that Isaac becomes drunk very easily; however, Patrick does not become inebriated in this way. (The word just means to become drunk.) It seems that Isaac fears being in a drunken stupor—that is, a state of unconsciousness (or at least semi-consciousness). Thus, he remains sober—in the sense of avoiding alcohol. (The word can also mean serious—a person who is not drinking might well be a serious temperament.)

Example Question #8 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The subject was no __________ matter but instead was quite __________, focusing on things that, given their import, were very __________ to most parties.

Possible Answers:

craven . . . logistical . . . profound

meandering . . . focused . . . belittling

ephemeral . . . consequential . . . controversial   

ecclesiastical . . . secular . . . amazing

niggling . . . audacious . . . trivial

Correct answer:

ephemeral . . . consequential . . . controversial   

Explanation:

This sentence has a contrast in it, as indicated by the use of "no . . . but instead." The first direct clue for the word meanings is "given their import." The word "import" can be used as shorthand for "importance." Therefore, the matters are "quite important." To be "consequential" is just that—to be of import and creating consequences in the world. The contrast to this is "ephemeral," which means passing or existing a short while. This can have the extended sense of being passing and unimportant. Since these are important, it makes sense that these topics were controversial. Important matters almost always spark arguments!

Example Question #9 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Although Odo was not known for being __________, he did occasionally __________ his companions by showing care for people in dire __________.

Possible Answers:

communistic . . . recount . . . need

felicitous . . . niggle . . . fortunes

altruistic . . . astonish . . . straits

melancholic . . . rejoice . . . hedonism

generous . . . belittle . . . communal

Correct answer:

altruistic . . . astonish . . . straits

Explanation:

The word "dire" means extreme. We use this sometimes in the expression "dire poverty." The word "straits" means a state of difficulty. Now, it is likely tempting to choose "fortunes" or "need" as well; however, the coupled pair for the first two blanks must be contrasted and relative to this idea of being in dire need.  We know the contrast must hold because of the "although" construction.  Particularly, the contrast is between what Odo appears to be and what he can be at times (by helping the needy). To be "altruistic" is to be "other-focused." The "altr-" portion comes from the same basis as "alter" and "alterity," both of which refer to "otherness." This action seems to be in contrast to his normal way of acting, so it is astonishing to his friends!

Example Question #10 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The __________ structure of the moral system had a certain beauty; in its supreme __________ of parts, seemingly contradictory elements were actually well __________ in relation to one another.

Possible Answers:

pedantic . . . entailment . . . positioned

architectonic . . . harmony . . . balanced 

questionable . . . conflagration . . . noted

impressive . . . arrangement . . . regulated

arching . . . indication . . . woven

Correct answer:

architectonic . . . harmony . . . balanced 

Explanation:

This sentence implies that the moral system was beautiful because of its balance. It seems to be contradictory but in fact is well "balanced." The word "regulated" only works partially in this manner and is paired with words that are not as appropriate for the sentence. In any case, "regulated" does not express "balance" well enough. The idea of "overall structure" is expressed by "architechtonic," which can be taken to mean the "overall architecture" of something. These well balanced parts can be said to be "in harmony" insofar as they are balanced and function very well together. This is how harmonious music "works" as well—by such careful balancing of pitches and tones.

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